Review – PLINI – Sunhead – by Progradar

Sydney’s PLINI is one of the rising stars of instrumental progressive rock and is releasing a new E.P. ‘Sunhead’ this month.

‘Sunhead’ features some exciting collaborations, including backing vocals and production from Skyharbor‘s Devesh Dayal (Salt & Charcoal), saxophone from The 1975’s John Waugh (Flâneur), piano and keyboards from Anomalie(Flâneur) and a guitar solo from Tim Miller on Sunhead. The recording line up is completed with drummer Chris Allison and bassist Simon Grove, with PLINI performing everything else.

Written, recorded and produced by PLINI himself – and for the most part, all from a bedroom studio. PLINI explains the writing process and what inspired him:

“I started working on the material almost straight after “Handmade Cities” was released in 2016, sort of with the goal to make a very big, small EP – aiming to put as much detail and refinement into the composition and playing as possible. Both musically and emotionally, the music is greatly influenced by the amount of touring and travel I’ve done in the past couple of years.

I was particularly inspired by Animals As Leaders (who I toured Europe and North America with in 2016), by the musical adventurousness in their last album, and Disperse (who I toured with in Europe in early 2017) for the way they seamlessly combined contemporary pop and electronic elements with prog-metal – updating a genre that sometimes seems (ironically for the name, “progressive”) entrenched in old musical cliches.

Aside from this, I think the “Sunhead” EP is a musical expression of the pure excitement that comes with traveling to new places, meeting new people and eating new things.”

There’s a smooth, funky and edgy feel to opener Kind, a track with a modern jazz overtone to it. The frequent outbursts from PLINI’s guitar add real flamboyance and a flavour of Steve Vai to this uplifting piece of music and the talent is there for all to see, as an opening track it is a perfect appetiser for what is to come.

Salt + Charcoal premiered as a video via Prog mag recently and is a powerfully driven track with staccato burst of guitar and some excellent bass and drums to add substance. Flighty and volatile, it has an almost surreal and alien rhythm that gets under your skin and gets you involved, right in the middle of the mix.

Like a bit of free-form Jazz with your instrumental prog? Flâneur will give you that in spades. An otherworldly six minute musical journey through the most brilliant of musical minds and one which intrigues at every turn. The spaced out keyboard sounds and off-tempo drumbeat give it a devil-may-care feel, an almost mischievous and playful melody that leaves a wicked grin on your face. John Waugh’s sax joins with Anomalie’s piano to close it out perfectly.

The start to closer (and title track) Sunhead immediately brings Jazz guitar legend Martin Taylor but the segue into the frantic riffing soon blows any perceived cobwebs away. The track then leisurely falls back into that super smooth jazz style that I really like, PLINI really showing his virtuosity, before erupting into a full-on funky and energetic jazz-metal vibe. Tim Miller’s solo is as thunderously dynamic as you could hope for and the track, and album, close out with utmost precision.

PLINI is a superlative talent, he has the ability to move through any guitar style seemlessly and that is a rare talent. With ‘Sunhead’ this amazing musician lets us, once again, see a glimpse of his mercurial skills. I have one complaint though, please can we have a full-length album next time?

Released 27th July 2018.

Order the album direct from the artist here

 

Review – Tides of Man – Every Nothing – by Progradar

Tides of Man is an instrumental rock band from Tampa, Florida. Drummer Josh Gould, bassist Alan Jaye, and guitarist Spencer Gill formed the band in 2007, with guitarist Daniel Miller joining in 2010.

The band has an interesting history, as they released music and toured for years with a vocalist before a dramatic shift occurred.

After starting out with a self released EP in 2008 and playing live in the Tampa Bay Area, Tides Of Man quickly built a local following before catching the attention of Portland, Oregon label, Rise Records.

They released 2 full length albums, ‘Empire Theory’ (2009), and ‘Dreamhouse’ (2010), which both featured vocals. After touring relentlessly in the U.S for 2 years, the band parted ways with their singer and record label and took time off to regroup.

After trying out many vocalists and demoing several new songs, the band was unable to find their new singer. With the sound of the new music already taking inspiration from the instrumental post-rock genre, Tides decided on a different approach. They stopped trying to fill the position and instead let the music speak for itself. After playing a show as an instrumental band, it was clear that it was the right decision, and fans embraced the change.

Tides Of Man successfully crowd funded their instrumental debut, ‘Young And Courageous’, in 2014 and return, after 4 years, with the follow up ‘Every Nothing’.

A wondrously expressive collection of twelve tracks that run a whole gamut of emotions all the way through from joy to despair. Layered and intricate tunes that invite the listener to bring their own perception to the music. The songs explore the theme that the most insignificant moments in life can be the most important.

There is power, beauty and grace evident in every musical moment from the brooding majesty of opener Static Hymn and the eminent and involving Old 88 to the fragile splendour of Waxwing and New Futures, the arrangements and tones deliver a truly emotional experience.

To me, this is the beauty of instrumental music, the lack of words allows the listener to create their own subliminal journey through the album, each track meaning something different to everyone. The pomp and circumstance of duo Everything is Fine, Everyone is Happy and the brilliantly titled Death is No Dread Enemy cement this instrumental magnificence perfectly.

‘Every Nothing’ is an album where you will gain the most from listening from beginning to end and immersing yourself in the whole acoustic experience, a dark, brooding but, ultimately, self-enriching journey from beginning to end and one which sees this supremely talented quartet raise their game on every level.

Released 1st August 2018.

Order the album here:

TIDES OF MAN

 

Tides of Man Release “Everything Is Fine, Everyone Is Happy” – 2nd Single from New Full-Length Every Nothing!

Tampa, Florida based instrumental post-rock outfit, Tides of Man, returned today with Everything is Fine, Everyone is Happy – revealing a darker edge to contrast their more ethereal first single Static Hymn that premiered earlier this month with New Noise Magazine. “Everything Is Fine, Everyone Is Happy” is anchored by driving percussion and ominous synths that paint an almost sinister soundscape for the guitars and bass to explore. The result is an intense composition that exudes energy and inspires the listener to be strong in pushing through whatever barriers they are facing in their life. These first two singles from Every Nothing perfectly capture the diversity of the record and will undoubtedly build anticipation amongst the band’s cult-like international following and win new fans in the process. You can check out both singles on the official Tides Of Man YouTube and Spotify pages and Every Nothing is available now for preorder.

Tides of Man will be releasing a new full-length, entitled Every Nothing, on August 3rd. Every Nothing is a collection of 12 meticulously arranged post-rock compositions that builds on the band’s 2014 full-length, Young and Courageous. The synergy throughout the album allows listeners a serene experience that highlights the band’s creative growth while staying true to their foundational sound that led to such a dedicated international following for the band upon their previous release. Every Nothing explores the theme that sometimes the most insignificant moments, one takes for granted, can be the most important. When looking back, these small moments can be life-defining. Sonically, Every Nothing shows a darker and more brooding side of the bands writing – creating an atmosphere that reflects their artistic maturation over the past four years.

Quote from the band regarding Every Nothing:

“It’s been an amazing process writing Every Nothing together as a band. We pushed ourselves and each other beyond what we thought we were capable of and we put our all into this record. We are very proud to finally release it!”

Tides of Man came to prominence as one of the torchbearers of progressive rock through their initial EP and first two full lengths (Empire Theory and Dreamhouse). After parting ways with their lead singer and label, the band was reborn as an instrumental post-rock project with the crowdfunded release of their third full-length, Young And Courageous in 2014. Their music has been described as layered, with mesmerizing tone textures, beautiful in a way that allows listeners to attach their own experiences and emotions to the music. After several well received tours of Europe and North America and appearances at End of the Road and Dunk! Festival, the band went into the studio to record their second instrumental album, Every Nothing. They worked with producers Mike Watts at Vudu Studios (As Cities Burn, The Dear Hunter, As Tall As Lions) and Spencer Bradham at Cleartrack Studios, and the album will be released independently on August 3rd.

Tides of Man are about to embark on a European tour in support of the new record that will include appearances at Fete De Lion in Switzerland on August 2nd and ArcTanGent in Bristol, UK on August 16th. The band has long been revered for the special experience their live show provides concert-goers and are well known as a “can’t miss” performance. Stay tuned for additional tour dates and more information and music from Every Nothing as release day draws closer.

Tides of Man Tour Dates
8/2- Wil, Switzerland @ Fête de Lion
8/17 – Bristol, UK @ ArcTanGent Festival

RIVERSIDE – Reveal “Wasteland” album artwork and first release details!

Polish Rock masters RIVERSIDE are pleased to announce that their upcoming seventh studio album ‘Wasteland’ will be released via their longtime label partner InsideOutMusic on September 28th, 2018.

The album will once again feature artwork designed by longtime visual partner Travis Smith (Opeth, Devin Townsend, etc.) and the record’s main track-listing reads as follows:

RIVERSIDE – “Wasteland”:
1. The Day After
2. Acid Rain
3. Vale Of Tears
4. Guardian Angel
5. Lament
6. The Struggle For Survival
7. River Down Below
8. Wasteland
9. The Night Before

RIVERSIDE’s Mariusz Duda checked in with the following comment about the album’s overall concept: I’d been thinking about exploring “post-apocalyptic” regions for a long time. I read books, watched films, played video games, all connected by stories about an attempt to survive in a world that had just ended. But writing such a story myself didn’t make much sense until now. RIVERSIDEare starting a new chapter and after our recent experiences, a story like that has gained more meaning. “Wasteland” is mostly about what’s happening in the world these days but it also makes a reference to the tragedy that befell the band in 2016. Musically, we’ve returned to darker sounds but we have also turned a new page and recorded the album in a different style. It’s still RIVERSIDE but expressed in a much deeper and more mature way. Most artists say the same thing while promoting their new releases: that they have just created their best work to date. I won’t say that because everything we have done so far has been consistently very good and unique. But I will say that we have never had such an incredible emotional load on any of our previous releases, and it’s not likely that we will ever make such a charged album again. “Wasteland” is an epic, multidimensional, poetic and very deep album. Perhaps of the once in a lifetime kind.”

RIVERSIDE’s “Wasteland” marks the first studio album effort with newly composed music after the tragic passing of founding member and guitarist Piotr Grudziński on February 21st, 2016.

Attention: More album details, its pre-order option as well as a first single will be launched on July 27th, so stay tuned for more news soon…

After having just performed on a string of European festivals including the prestigious Night Of The Prog festival at the historic Loreley Amphitheater in Germany last weekend, RIVERSIDE are next embarking on the “Wasteland 2018 Tour” throughout October/November to support the release of their upcoming album. See an overview of all confirmed upcoming dates below:

RIVERSIDE – “Wasteland 2018 Tour”:
12.10.2018 Gdansk (Poland) – B90
13.10.2018 Poznan (Poland) – Tama
14.10.2018 Wroclaw (Poland) – A2
16.10.2018 Katowice (Poland) – Miasto Ogrodów
17.10.2018 Lódz (Poland) – Magnetofon
18.10.2018 Torun (Poland) – Od Nowa
20.10.2018 Kraków (Poland) – Studio
21.10.2018 Warszawa (Poland) – Hala Kolo
30.10.2018 Berlin (Germany) – Kesselhaus
31.10.2018 Schorndorf (Germany) – Manufaktur
03.11.2018 Lisbon (Portugal) – LAV
04.11.2018 Madrid (Spain) – MON LIVE
05.11.2018 Barcelona (Spain) – Salamandra 1
06.11.2018 Lyon (France) – CCO
07.11.2018 Paris (France) – La Machine
09.11.2018 Manchester (UK) – Academy 2
10.11.2018 London (UK) – The Electric Ballroom
11.11.2018 Sint-Niklaas (Belgium) – Casino
12.11.2018 Utrecht (The Netherlands) – TivoliVredenburg
14.11.2018 Hamburg (Germany) – Markthalle
15.11.2018 Oberhausen (Germany) – Turbinenhalle 2
16.11.2018 Pratteln (Switzerland) – Z7
17.11.2018 Neunkirchen (Germany) – Gloomaar Festival
Tickets: https://riversideband.pl/en/gigs

RIVERSIDE – Festivals 2019:
04.-09.02.2019 Tampa to Key West & Cozumel – Cruise To The Edge
More dates to follow soon…

Look out for more news on RIVERSIDE in the coming weeks…

Review – Evenflow – Old Town – by Jez Denton

In the last couple of months I’ve had the good fortune to have reviewed a number of works by collaborations between very talented musicians who have come together, often after working on other projects and finding lots of musical common ground, to make music that primarily, it seems, enthuses them, which is an enthusiasm that flows through to the listener.

Sometimes the resulting work doesn’t always hit the brief entirely but, on a majority of cases, with prime examples being the 2017 collaboration between Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile and the album released by the duo made up of Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay, ‘Lump’, in the last couple of months. The common factor, it seems, is when it is a partnership working together as opposed to a collective; the lack of too many cooks adds to the broth in subtle ways, complimenting each other in the desire to create an interesting  and well-crafted piece of musical art.

Falling into this category is the latest release on Bad Elephant Music from the collaboration between Stuart Stephens of Whitewater and Mike Kershaw, under the name Evenflow. Evenflow as a name is a suitable place in which to talk about this EP, called ‘Old Town’, as this is a collection of five songs that do, indeed, have an even and gorgeous flow to them. Right from the opening moments of the first track, Creation, Stuart and Mike show their excellent understanding of how to put together their thoughts and music without being seemingly in competition or showing off to the other.

They work together to complement each other’s differing styles and have made a wonderful EP full of the understanding about leaving space in the music and developing a beautifully atmospheric piece. Each player and composer seems overjoyed to be in the presence of the other, meaning that they both allow each other to grow throughout the EP. They have created a truly wondrous collaboration that deserves further development as this duo of Evenflow.

‘Old Town’ is a piece of work that bodes well for the future of this pair as a combination; we can only hope that their own individual work commitments allows them to come together to continue creating. I, for one, was left wanting more when listening to this EP andwould look forward to hearing a longer, album’s length, work from Stuart and Mike. Hopefully Bad Elephant Music will be able to facilitate this and support the guys in future.

Released 29th June 2018

Order the album (only released digitally) on bandcamp here

 

Review – The Kentish Spires – The Last Harvest – by James R. Turner

The Gentlemen behind the Summers End Festival, Huw Lloyd-Jones and Stephen Lambe, have branched out into a record label as well, Sonicbond, truly covering all progressive bases and, following on the release of the excellent Talitha Rise album, they now unleash this album, described as a spiritual successor to the classic Canterbury Scene. With a wonderfully rich and warm sound, this is an assured and impressive debut album.

The band’s members are no stranger to the contemporary prog scene, with guitarist Danny Chang bringing his considerable influence to bear and Rik Loveridge’s wonderful Hammond flows throughout the album. Phil Warren and Tim Robinson on bass and drums provide the impressive back beat that allows the guitars and synths to paint wonderful musical pictures, while the woodwind of Paul Hornsby adds a wonderfully English feel. I am a sucker for bands that use woodwind and brass like The Home Service, Brass Monkey  and Supertramp and this definitely ticks all the boxes for me. Topping it off are the sublimely soulful vocals of Lucie V, who brings her warm, smokey soulful voice to bear on these superb tracks.

From the wonderful opening 11minutes plus opener Kingdom of Kent, this well and truly sets the scene with evocative lyrics (and distinctions between Kentish Men and Men of Kent – having lived there in the Medway towns for a while, this is an important distinction for residents of this garden county,) stirring musical moments, wonderful woodwind and keyboard work, and oh, those vocals. Lucie adds soul to the music that is full of heart and, as an opening track goes, it acts as both a statement of intent and as an opening to a new album by a new band. It is assured and has plenty of verve and swagger. The bonus track Clarity (mixed by one of progs busiest men Rob Reed) is a wonderfully direct song about indecision and direction (something we can all identify with) and, again, Lucie’s vocals add the world-weary element to this, while the band are sublime.

The Canterbury vibe filters its way through the album with the wonderful flute on TTWIG (That’s the Way it Goes) sounding like it snuck in the back from a ‘70’s Tull album. Along with the sax, the woodwind and the wonderfully organic Hammond organ sound, this album reminds me of other great English bands like Kapreker’s Constant or Big Big Train circa ‘The Underfall Yard’ era.

With only 8 tracks on here, the album has room to grown and breath and while it is not a concept album, several of the tracks do link into the history of Kent, songs like Hengist Ridge (not to be confused with a Mike Oldfield album of a similar name) and the opener deal with the subject of the regions wars and battles.

My favourite track on the album is also, funnily enough, the longest at 13 minutes plus. The Last Harvest is a wonderfully English epic where Chang’s guitar soars and Lucie’s vocals take the music to another level, almost reminiscent in points of either Pink Floyd or Mostly Autumn. The closing organ piece that rounds the track off is both sublime and elegiac, reminiscent of Harvest festival celebrations in Churches and Village Halls, the haunting sound you only get from a traditional organ.

This album is a fantastically mature and accomplished debut with some wonderfully English influences drawing from things as wonderfully diverse as folk rock, progressive rock and the Canterbury scene and it weaves them all into an incredibly rich tapestry of sounds and styles. Never jarring and in keeping with the rich musical seam of talent that runs through this album.

I really enjoyed this record, and it is one that will grow on you just like it grew on me and, in Lucie V, we have another wonderful singer with a unique voice who is integral to the success of this record. If you like your English progressive music, and want to try something new, The Kentish Spires are exactly what you need.

Released 27th July 2018

Order the album from bandcamp here

Gandalf’s Fist Tease Road to Darkness Special Edition

Gandalf’s Fist have announced, and begun pre-orders on a special, deluxe re-issue of their 2011 offering ‘Road to Darkness’.

In line with 2017’s special edition release of their ‘Universal Wanderer’ album, ‘Road to Darkness’ has been fully remixed and remastered from the ground up, utilizing new performance takes and bringing the release firmly in line with the sonic palette of 2014’s ‘A Forest of Fey’ and 2016’s ‘The Clockwork Fable’.

The record also features many of the original songs revised from their original form, adding fresh interpretation of the original material with new sections, lyrics and vocals.

Completing the package is the brand new cover art commissioned from British artist Daniel Pearce, the man reasonable for the artwork on the 12” vinyl release of ‘The Lamplighter’s Tale’.

Gandalf’s Fist frontman, Dean Marsh commented:

“This special edition is particularly meaningful for us as a band, as not only was the original our first ‘real’ Gandalf’s Fist album, but also because it has never had a proper full-scale physical pressing in all these years. It’s great to finally do justice to the songs that marked the beginning of this mad adventure”

Various pre-order packages are now available via https://www.gandalfsfist.com/road-to-darkness-reissue

The band have announced via social media that they will continue to reveal album art and preview tracks from the album over the coming weeks.

 

VOIVOD – “The Wake” album details and release date announced!

Celebrating their 35th anniversary this year, Canadian progressive sci-fi metal innovators VOIVOD are pleased to announce a release date of September 21st, 2018 for their upcoming new studio album “The Wake” via Century Media Records worldwide.

“The Wake”, the highly anticipated successor to 2013’s “Target Earth” album as well as the 2016 mini-album “Post Society”, was recorded and mixed by Francis Perron at RadicArt Recording Studio in Canada. The album‘s artwork was once again created by VOIVOD drummer Michel “Away” Langevin and can be seen above.

VOIVOD guitarist Daniel “Chewy“ Mongrain” checked in with the following comment: “It is with great enthusiasm and pride that we will soon share with you the fruit of 2 years of labor in the form of an intricate, intense and colorful journey with our new album ‘The Wake’, expanding the boundaries of VOIVOD’s multiverse!”

The album’s track-listing reads as follows:

VOIVOD  “The Wake”:
1. Obsolete Beings
2. The End Of Dormancy
3. Orb Confusion
4. Iconspiracy
5. Spherical Perspective
6. Event Horizon
7. Always Moving
8. Sonic Mycelium

The first single off “The Wake” is expected for release on July 20th.

VOIVOD’s first European touring run in support of “The Wake” will feature the following rotating support acts: Maggot Heart (from 7th until 16th Sept), Nightrage (from 18th until 26th Sept) and Bio-Cancer (from 28th Sept until 20thOct). Here is a list of all dates:

VOIVOD – European Tour 2018:
07.09.2018 Prague (Czech Republic) – Futurum *
08.09.2018 Poznan (Poland) – U Bazyla *
09.09.2018 Warsaw (Poland) – Hydrozagadka *
10.09.2018 Krakow (Poland) – Kwadrat *
11.09.2018 Bratislava (Slovakia) – Randal Club *
13.09.2018 Cluj-Napoca (Romania) – Flying Circus Pub *
14.09.2018 Belgrade (Serbia) – Elektropionir *
15.09.2018 Budapest (Hungary) – Durer Kert *
16.09.2018 Vienna (Austria) – Szene *
18.09.2018 Bologna (Italy) – Locomotiv **
19.09.2018 Rome (Italy) – Largo **
20.09.2018 Milan (Italy) – Santeria **
21.09.2018 Winterthur (Switzerland) – Gaswerk **
22.09.2018 Seyssinet Pariset (France) – Ilyade **
24.09.2018 Barcelona (Spain) – Boveda **
25.09.2018 Madrid (Spain) – Nazca **
26.09.2018 Porto (Portugal) – Hard Club **
28.09.2018 Marseille (France) – Jas’ Rod ***
29.09.2018 Paris (France) – Petit Bain ***
30.09.2018 Nantes (France) – Ferrailleur ***
02.10.2018 Southampton (UK) – The Joiners ***
03.10.2018 Cardiff (UK) – The Globe ***
04.10.2018 Leeds (UK) – Temple Of Boom ***
05.10.2018 Glasgow (UK) – Cathouse ***
06.10.2018 Manchester (UK) – Rebellion ***
07.10.2018 London (UK) – Underworld ***
09.10.2018 Brussels (Belgium) – Magasin 4 ***
10.10.2018 Amstelveen (The Netherlands) – P60 ***
11.10.2018 Eindhoven (The Netherlands) – Dynamo ***
12.10.2018 Cologne (Germany) – Luxor ***
13.10.2018 Hamburg (Germany) – Logo ***
14.10.2018 Copenhagen (Denmark) – Pumpehuset ***
15.10.2018 Stockholm (Sweden) – Klubb Nalen ***
17.10.2018 Helsinki (Finland) – Tavastia ***
18.10.2018 Tampere (Finland) – Klubi ***
20.10.2018 Oslo (Norway) – John Dee ***

Support bands:
* Maggot Heart (from 7th until 16th Sept)
** Nightrage (from 18th until 26th Sept)
*** Bio-Cancer (from 28th Sept until 20th Oct)

VOIVOD drummer Michel “Away” Langevin commented on the upcoming European tour as follows: We are thrilled to visit our friends in Europe once again in September and October, and it will be a great occasion for us to test songs from our upcoming album,“The Wake“.“

Previously, VOIVOD will also appear at selected festivals in North America as follows:

VOIVOD – Live 2018:
29.07.2018 Montreal (Canada) – Heavy Montreal Festival
https://www.heavymontreal.com/en/artists
04.08.2018 Lévis (Canada) – Festivent
https://festivent.ca/artistes/
18.08.2018 Las Vegas (USA) – Psycho Las Vegas Festival
https://www.vivapsycho.com

More on VOIVOD and “The Wake” to follow soon…

VOIVOD line-up:
Snake – Vocals
Chewy – Guitar
Rocky – Bass
Away – Drums

 

Review – Chris Squire – Fish Out of Water (2CD / 2DVD / 1LP / 2 X 7″ SINGLES LIMITED EDITION BOXSET) – by James R. Turner

At the last count there have been about 1 million approx. solo albums (ed. – I think you may be exaggerating there James…) from various members of Yes in it’s variety of incarnations (although to be fair, most of them are by Rick Wakeman!) and, now while the band strides the earth in two distinct incarnations (the ‘official’ Yes, where Billy Sherwood has stepped up into the much missed Chris Squire’s boots  and Yes Featuring Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman), neither band has the anchorage or the sheer musical presence that Chris Squire had, the only man to appear on every Yes studio album and whose distinctive bass sound turned bass playing into an art, where it became more than just part of the back beat.

Billy Sherwood is excellent live at taking Chris’ place but there can only ever be one Chris Squire, Rickenbacker in hand, propelling the sound of Yes onwards.

Which is why, for my money, ‘Fish Out of Water’ is the finest solo album by any member of Yes ever released, it’s the finest album that Yes never released, and showcased Chris at his best. Here he takes on some astonishingly great sounds, aided and abetted by old Yes sparring partners Bill Bruford and Patrick Moraz, such luminaries such as Mel Collins and Jimmy Hastings and orchestral arrangements by old friend Andrew Pryce-Jackson. This is pure undiluted Squire, where he lets his vocals and his bass take central stage.

In fact, he didn’t sound as powerful and as energised as this again until on the Yes ‘Drama’ album from 1980.

This re-issue on Esoteric Recordings  is available in both a standard double CD set, which includes the original album and the new stereo mix by Jakko Jakszyk (complete with bonus tracks, the single version of Lucky Seven and Chris Squire and Alan White’s Run with the Fox/Return of the Fox single) or a deluxe boxed set that includes the CD but also replica 7” singles of the bonus tracks, the album on 180g vinyl and ‘Fish Out of Water’ in a new 5.1 mix.

The only quibble I have with this is that the 5.1 mix is only available in the far more expensive box, and for those of us who love the album but don’t need the vinyl or bonus 7” singles, the cost of the box to get the 5.1 is quite prohibitive.

Hopefully when the box runs out, there may be second run of the CD with the 5.1 disc as I am sure the demand for it is out there.

Whilst some of the content (the interview with Chris Squire and track commentary for instance) is also on the 2006 Sanctuary edition of the album, the sound quality and remastering work is stellar. Where the Sanctuary copy fell was the sound of the album, it was very muddy, and the booklet looked like it had been run through a colour photocopier.

The mastering here brings out all the subtle nuances throughout the record and, of course, Jakko’s new stereo mix is a revelation, bringing new life into such epic pieces as the fantastic Hold Out Your Hand and You By My Side.

The two epics on this album were always Silently Falling, with it’s astonishing extended coda, and the orchestrally brilliant Safe (Canon Song) with its lush orchestrations taking up pretty much the whole of side two. This was true progressive music, none of yer regressive nonsense, this was Chris Squire pushing boundaries and making exciting dynamic and, on Safe, truly memorably moving songs.

You get the room for these songs to breathe and grow and develop, and the intricate sounds, subtle musical nuances, even the funk that’s on Lucky Seven (which to me was always the weakest on the album) has even grown on me and I can appreciate it a hell of a lot more than I ever did. Silently Falling for me is the centrepiece of this album, and oh, I would have loved for Yes to take this and make something of it as well (not that there is anything wrong at all with this version, far from it, but to hear Squire and Anderson singing on this together would have been amazing).

The 5.1 is even more astonishing, like King Crimson, Gentle Giant and, indeed, Yes, 5.1 is the music system progressive music was built for and, of course, Esoteric have a great track record in 5.1, as the Hawkwind ‘Warrior at the Edge of Time’ and the recent Barclay James Harvest re-issues show. It is a truly immersive experience for the music lover and it feels, just for the length of the album, that Chris Squire is in the room with you, that this is a private performance just for you, the sound of Silently Falling in 5.1 sending tingles down the spine. The whole mix is revelatory, there is so much more going on, and the mix is beautifully organic, pulling the sounds to life without ever compromising the album.

For those of you who already have this album on CD from previous below par re-issues and indeed the original vinyl and are wondering if it is worth getting a copy, I would say the sound has radically improved over any previous CD version and the Jakko stereo mix is revelatory. If you were thinking of the 5.1, which is on a par with the wonderful 5.1 version of ‘The Yes Album’ by the way, then you would have to look at your budget and decide if it is worth having,  complete with the vinyl.

This is a legendary ground-breaking record, from a legendary ground-breaking musician and, other than a Christmas record (the amusingly titled ‘Chris Squire’s Swiss Choir’) stands as the solo testament to Yes’ anchor. Maybe it is so good because he never made another, not knowing the man I couldn’t speculate on why not, maybe he felt he’d said all he needed to say solo, or perhaps he felt more comfortable within Yes, who can say? However, as one of the most innovative and distinctive musical forces in music, and a year after his untimely passing, this remaster is the appropriate way to celebrate his definitive musical statement.

Released 27th April 2018

Buy the boxset here

YES – FLY FROM HERE – RETURN TRIP – IN STOCK AND OUT NOW

Prog icons YES have released a brand-new mix of their album Fly From Here – Return Trip, featuring the Drama line-up and new lead vocals by Trevor Horn, to coincide with their 50th Anniversary celebrations.

All the vinyl editions and the special postcard book, which were previously only available to pre-order, are IN STOCK AND OUT NOW but are only available on the band’s #YES50 tour (including the Fan Convention in Philadelphia on 21st July 2018 with all four surviving members in attendance) and via these two links ONLY:

Pledge: https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/yes-fly-from-here-return-trip

Burning Shed: https://burningshed.com/tag/fly%20from%20here

The original 2011 release of Fly From Here featured the band members who appeared on Drama: Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, plus Benoit David on lead vocals with Trevor Horn in the role of Producer.

Trevor Horn says: I really enjoyed listening to Alan and Chris playing together again. Finishing off the album was a labour of love.”

Fly From Here – Return Trip also contains a previously unreleased song, Don’t Take No for an Answer” recorded in 2011, with Steve Howe on lead vocals. Additionally, the full-length version of “Hour of Need” is included. This has previously only been included as a Japanese bonus track.